Searle Chemistry Laboratory

Distinguished Building Award Submission

The $49-million, 86,000 GSF, LEED GOLD rehabilitation of the 1968 Searle Chemistry Laboratory delivered relief to the Chemistry Department, the Computation Institute (CI), and campus area needing reconfigured pedestrian patterns.

The original building, a sphinx-like limestone enclosure prominently located on Ellis Avenue, was difficult to enter or understand what took place within. The new laboratory is distinguished by a centered, two-story entry that serves as an exciting arrival point.

In place of dark, dense labs, the design creates synthetic chemistry labs in flexible, modular configurations, separated by glass and connected by glazed hallway partitions encouraging interactive research opportunities. Channeling abundant daylight, every lab, office/seminar room, and hallway provide views to the outside and significantly reduce energy costs.

As the interim home for 90 CI members, the environment accommodates future conversion to synthetic chemistry labs. The space contains demountable wall panel systems providing easy, affordable and sustainable reconfiguration of the workspace. New shared seminar/conference areas allow both groups to host conferences and project presentations.

Wilson Architects
The University of Chicago
  • AEI | Affiliated Engineers, Inc.
General contractor
Bulley & Andrews, LLC.
Chicago, IL